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More architects needed for ‘rapidly urbanising’ Commonwealth, says report

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Many Commonwealth countries are suffering a lack of capacity in their architectural sectors, according to a new survey

The Commonwealth Association of Architects’ (CAA) survey of the profession is the first such report for 30 years.

It aims to assess the profession’s capacity to help deliver targets set out in the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and respond to the world’s rapidly increasing urban population.

CAA president Vincent Cassar said: ‘The findings of the survey reveal critical issues in some of the countries of the Commonwealth which are rapidly urbanising and are among the most vulnerable; issues which will be of concern to policymakers and professionals alike.’

Looking at developed Commonwealth countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, the report concluded that between 0.26 and 0.58 architects per 1,000 of the population are needed.

However, it found evidence of a lack of capacity in some parts of the Commonwealth, with ratios of just 0.02 in Ghana and Bangladesh, 0.03 in Pakistan, 0.04 in Botswana, 0.05 in Sri Lanka, 0.06 in Malaysia and 0.07 in South Africa.

Uganda only has 178 registered architects in a country of more than 43 million (0.004 architects per 1,000 of the population), with the country urbanising at a rate of more than 5.3 per cent each year.

Rapid rates of annual urban growth are taking place in some of the Commonwealth’s more fragile states, according to the survey, including Rwanda (5.59 per cent), Tanzania (5.00 per cent), Zambia (4.35 per cent), Nigeria (4.3 per cent), Kenya (4.15 per cent), Malawi (4.02 per cent), Solomon Islands (3.79 per cent), Namibia (3.63 per cent), Cameroon (3.40 per cent), Mozambique (3.36 per cent), Vanuatu (3.23 per cent), Bangladesh (3.19 per cent), and Ghana (3.07 per cent).

By comparison, the average urban growth rate among OECD countries participating in the survey is 1.08 per cent.

In addition, more than a quarter of respondents felt their national planning legislation was not fit for purpose with more than half commenting that it wasn’t being implemented effectively.

The findings of the survey were launched at a UK Built Environment Advisory Group roundtable on Thursday (19 April) during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London.

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Commonwealth graph

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